Single living is on the rise: data from the US Census Bureau shows there were 35.7 million single-person households, 28 percent of all households in 2018, while in 1960, that group represented only 13 percent. And more people are staying single longer than ever before. The highest median ages for first marriages were reported in 2018 as well. With the rise of singledom comes an expansion of the language used to describe single status, as well as a positive and more nuanced understanding of creating a life as an individual.
In an interview with British Vogue for its December 2019 issue, actor Emma Watson described her own lifestyle as ‘self-partnered’ – a term that set off a media firestorm. Receiving both support and critique, the message was the same: traditional vocabulary about single lifestyles no longer applies. In one response to Watson’s newly minted terminology, author Max Benwell of The Guardian listed five other “new ways to be single.” They include unconsciously unpartnered, apposexual, dopiosexual and unethical monogamy (with yourself). While written with a light-hearted tone, what’s clear is that today’s society recognizes a much broader understanding of single living than in the past.